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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Aap ki Kachari, hosted by Kiran Bedi

How to take part in this show ? Click on this link.

Kyunki Saas bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi was a very long running serial on Star Plus at its prized 10:30 PM slot, and then, after the TRP's started falling, Star got the serial ended (with a dispute between Star and Balaji about the termination of the serial). A number of reality show type of serials are getting popular now, and so Star decided to make a radical change to the serial appearing on this show.
And so comes a totally different serial for this time slot, with a show patterned on solving domestic abuses. Kiran Bedi is a very famous former police officer, who had done a number of landmark initiatives, but who resigned from the police force after being passed over for the role of Police Commissioner of Delhi.
Now, she is the judge in a show where people with family disputes are involved. This could be between husband and wife, cases where a wife complains about bad treatment by in-laws, where parents complain that they have been deserted by their children, husband complains that his wife has run away, or one of the couple complains that they were tricked by the other one.
These are all civil disputes, with the condition being that the case should not have been in court already. Kiran Bedi hears them out, trying to build on the positive areas, trying to get a commitment from the concerned people about things they can do to improve issues. She is also capable of also contributing financially to improve things where it would help (like getting one of the people to do a course that would help their earning potential).

Some videos of the show from Youtube (link)

The antics of Raja Choudhary

Raja Choudhury played a very impressive role in the reality show Big Boss. He was opinionated, angry, withdrawn, aggressive, all of these emotions at the same time. His fights with Sambhavna, a running cold war with Rahul Mahajan, all of them served to spice up the serial, and kept him popular (managing never to get voted out even though he was nominated many times). In fact, his ex-wife, Television actress Shweta Tiwari has claimed that he was in fact abusive, and not a nice person, but this claim never got the prominence that she was looking for.
And now, after being very popular after the second version of Big Boss, he has started ruining the very same image. It is true that everything small or big related to a personality becomes news, but the fact is that when the person compounds this problem by being difficult, then things get even worse. So Raja Choudhury has got into multiple problems in the last few weeks, having spent time in jail for attempting to outrage the modesty of a woman, got into trouble with a eunuch, and caused problems outside the club and boutique owned by his fellow Big Boss participant, Zulfi Syed, who now wants to file a police complaint.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Big Boss 2 finals on 22nd November, Ashutosh won

So, after a lot of drama, the winner of Big Boss Season 2 is finally in. The last few weeks must have been nerve-wracking for the inhabitants of the house, since they would be so close to the prize, and in tension of getting evicted at any point. The last 4 included those who a lot of people had speculated would always be in, and these were Zulfi (not so sure), Ashutosh, Rahul, and Raja (all these 3 always seemed like contenders). And then came the one night that essentially meant that Rahul would no longer be in the show.
In a fit of insanity, when wracked by hunger and by egging each other on, they decided to revolt and broke out of the house by climbing the fence. They were encouraged to go back in, but somebody had to pay for this. The Big Boss started the nomination procedure as a punishment, and finally Rahul decided that he would be the one who would leave, especially since the others all regretted their actions.
The show was helped a lot by the ongoing strike, since all other shows were off due to the television workers strike, and only Big Boss was excluded from this strike since the inhabitants of the house had already spent months inside, and hence they were exempted from the re-run show.
With the final 3, it must have also got very boring for them, and the television all the time was showing them that they have just a few days left, and the money involved was all of Rs. 1 crore. Finally, the 22nd of November came, and Shilpa Shetty got into the act. After almost 3 hours of drama (including with performances from the previous participants), first Zulfi was eliminated, and then Akshay Kumar joined the show to make the final announcement, and he then announced that it was Ashutosh who was the winner.

Video of Ashutosh winning the Big Boss Season 2 on youtube:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Big Boss Season 2 on Colors all 7 days at 10PM

Big Boss (part 1 an year back on Sony) is now in Season 2. It was fairly successful in Season 1, and in Season 2, it moved to the Viacom promoted channel Colors. Colors has been promoting it with a huge amount of effort, running many ads before the show started. Now that the show has started, the 10 - 11 AM time slot, the 12 AM - 1 AM time slot, many discussions of the events on new channels, on the radio, and other media has also happened (and Colors will be happy for all this free publicity). Season 1 ended on 16 January 2007, and Season 2 started more than an year later, at 17 August 2008 (the final is scheduled for 22 November 2008). The channel managed a big catch, with the winner of the Britain based Big Brother Shilpa Shetty appearing as the host once a week, where the person to be kicked out is decided.

Big Boss Season 2 on Colors all 7 days at 10PM

For the Season 2, 14 contestants were selected and moved to the Big Boss House located in the beautiful location of Lonavala, near Mumbai. The house has a gym, has a swimming pool, but no communication facilities, and no TV. The format is that every week, the contestants put their nomination for who gets evicted, and at the end of the week, Shipla Shetty announces who gets evicted. First to get evicted was politician Sanjay Nirupam, and Jade Goody left the show soon after it was announced that she was afflicted with cervical cancer.
The house mates who remain in the show are Monica Bedi (although she was evicted once before and was later brought in again), Rahul Mahajan (Pramod Mahajan's son, and who must be the person who has been nominated the most), Raja (who has a wild temper and has fought badly with Rahul and Sambhawana), Ashutosh (who survived the eviction of Diana Hayden, and apparently both of them had a soft corner for each other), and Zulfi Sayed (one wonders how he has managed to survive). Those who were evicted earlier include comedian Ahsaan Qureshi (who came across as somewhat of a male chauvinistic), Alina Wadiwalla, Debojit Saha (the singer, who was non-controversial in the program), Diana Hayden (who was the last one to be evicted), Ketaki Dave (who showed that she missed her family tremendously), Payal Rohatgi (whom Rahul apparently pursued and who became very controversial when she was spotted in a bikini, and with all the massages from Rahul and short skirts ) - she is now in the house but only for a week, Rakhi Vijan, Sambhavna Seth (who is currently in the house along with Payal for a week, and who was the most controversial because of her fighting nature), Sanjay Nirupam (the first to be evicted, and who is now very critical of the program). Rahul is now wooing Monica Bedi.
The Big Boss has made a lot of effort this time to be very interesting, with letting people listen to what others are saying about them while hiding, with punishing the group by having them make their nominations in public, and by other interesting tasks. Bringing controversial people back into the program also makes for a lot of fun. And then having Pooja Bedi host another related program adds to the overall effort that has been spent on this program.

Videos from Big Boss 2 (link)
More Videos from Big Boss 2 on Youtube (link)

'Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat' on Star Plus

Raja Ki Aayegi Baarat is a serial based on the rich guy - poor girl story. For some time now, Yudhistir has been in love with Rani, who was from a poor family in the village, and who was working as a maid in the royal family. He even refused to get engaged to a seemingly suitable girl, Princess Bhumi, who was as such unsuited to him because of her greedy nature, extrovert behavior, fondness for drink, party and fraternising with other males. Eventually, she is married off to the younger brother, Rudra, the step-brother of Yudhisthir. The family tries everything they can to break this love between the elder son and Rani, including setting contests for Rani (and she wins each of them, sometimes in direct conflict with Bhumi).
Eventually, the situation reaches a head when Rani leaves the Palace, and is accused of stealing jewelery. She leaves in disgrace, and soon after Yudhishtir also leaves the palace after Rani. In the village, Rani is promised to Bhujan, but Bhujan and his mother are after the supposed money and jewels that Rani is carrying back from the palace. However, they are exposed when they show the greedy nature and sent out in disgrace, leaving the space open for Yudhistir.
Now, the marriage has been decided, and after the Raja Saheb watches Yudhishtir in the village and sees how he is respected and is involved in the work for the temple, and the love for his eldest son resurfaces. So now the marriage gets approved and Rani gets married to the prince as per all the festivities of a palace wedding, and is slowly winning the hearts of the Raja Saheb. In the meantime, when Rudra and Bhumi were in charge of getting the temple built, and steal money from all the points (including from the statue and from the quality of construction). When Raja Saheb finds out, he is wild and promises that they will be punished. He gives the responsibility of the punishment to the Choti Rani, who is stuck because she has to give a strict punishment to her own son, and in the end, in order to live upto the responsibility given her by Raja Saheb, she disowns her son and his wife, and removes them from any of the palace affairs.

Video of Choti Rani announcing the punishment on Rudra and Bhumi

Videos of the serial from Youtube (link)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The end of Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi

The Ekta Kapoor promoted saas-bahu serials had an amazing run on TV, being very popular over the years. However, in recent years, these serials have been reducing in popularity for multiple reasons - there are too many channels that are playing the saas-bahu concept, there are other serials on different topics that are becoming more popular (such as reality shows, serials such as Balika Vadhu, etc). One indicator to this was the termination of the contract between Star Plus and Balaji Telefilms, combined with the sudden termination of the long running Kahanii Ghar Ghar Kii.
And now it is common knowledge that the other long running Balaji Serial, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi is coming to an end. Star Plus has asked for the serial to be terminated by 10th November, and Balaji Telefilms has gone to court against this - a real life drama over a TV serial.
Anyhow, the serial had been forced to rehash old villains. For some time, Tripti was back in the form of using the new bahu on the block, Vaidehi, to try and plot against Tulsi. They got Tripti arrested for false currency, and after that, Vaidehi has been more or less absent from the serial. So, another villain, Shiv, from Ganga's history is back. He claims to have been married to Ganga earlier, and manages to both steal Sahil's business (these people seem to never read legal documents properly), and convince the males in the house that Ganga had been deceiving everyone. And they believe him (with Sahil, who had earlier deceived Ganga and cheated on her blaming her). As usual, Tulsi is trying to make sure that the good side wins.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Balika Vadhu on Colors - more problems

I have serious issues with the serial, Balika Vadhu. The serial takes on a social ill such as child marriage, but somehow does not convey the message that this is wrong. It is more in the nature that there are problems in the life of the girl who is getting married, but the message is very subtle. I recently came across many people who love the program, and it is gaining in popularity (the serial seems fresh, with a decent pace of movement, and the characters seem normal); however, from no one I heard anything to the extent that this serial portrays something that is wrong. This is very worrying, since overall, as the serial progresses, it could make it seem that child marriage is not illegal, and basically requires some adjustment. After all, if the grandmother were better behaved and more understanding, this would be an ideal household and no one even think about whether the child marriage is illegal.
Further, the serial depicts a society that is very tolerant of child marriage, with not even a fig leaf of any opposition by society, government or the police. It would seem like that the Government or the police have nothing to do in this society, and there are no efforts to prevent this display of child marriage. The fear is that this may be taken to mean a social sanction of the concept of child marriage.
The next problem that the serial is showing is the concept of a much elder man marrying a younger bride. The serial shows the elder brother, a widower, getting remarried (nothing wrong in that), except he seems to be marrying a girl who is half his age, and who is marrying him under duress; her parents are deep under debt and they are promised that their debt will be taken care of if they marry off their daughter, equivalent to selling off their daughter.
Now, she is married, and under a lot of stress. The serial also subtly depicts her horror at being forced into sex, where she has been forced to have sex with her much older husband (including where they show a mark on her neck, as well as her repugnance when he touches her). The serial promises to keep on showing more social evils - one can be sure that they will talk more about problems with widow remarriage, with bad treatment of women, and so on. My main issue is that the serial seems to be an effort to cash into an emotional issue, and not an attempt to convey how some of these social ills should be removed.

Videos of the serial Balika Vadhu (on Colors channel) from Youtube.

Kayamath - the 5 year transition

Kayamath is the story of Prachi, who goes through a lot of struggle in her life, eventually settling in life with Milind, after initially being fully in love with Neev (but a series of happenings causes this initial love to break apart). With her marriage to Milind, she is fully in love with Milind, but the main objective of the serial is to make her cry almost every episode (it has happened in almost every episode that there will be something that will make Prachi cry, whether that will be tears of happiness or of pain).
The biggest problem for Prachi was her rival Ayesha, who tried again and again to get Prachi out of the way and marry Milind. She was almost successful a couple of times, but each time the love between Prachi and Milind overcame these challenges, and both Milind and Prachi came together again. The last time this happened was due to Milind losing his memory, and Ayesha taking advantage of this fact in order to come close to Milind again. With a lot of tears, Prachi managed to fight her way with Milind again.
But it was the arrival of Mallika which turned things the other way. Malika, a business associate of Milind was in passionate about Milind, and managed to get rid of Prachi from the scene. In a fight, she managed to overcome Ayesha and kill her in a way that Milind would be the main accused. When Prachi found about Malika's truth, she was told that Milind would be jailed unless Prachi went away from his life; and you could guess what happened next. Prachi left after Milind was freed from jail, and then landed up in a train that got hit by a bomb blast. It seemed to Milind that Prachi was killed, instead Prachi took the shape of Panchi, the wife of a Bengali guy (Panchi was killed in the attack), and landed up at his house. The serial is now set 5 years in the future, where Panchi lives in the Bengali house, and suddenly Milind is now in the house, having saved Panchi's husbands life in a storm. What will happen next ?

Video of the killing of Ayesha on Kayamath

Video of Prachi crying again and meeting Milind again after 5 years

Friday, October 10, 2008

Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki on Star Plus - The End

Ever since it was announced that this long lasting serial, currently in its 8th year, with an extremely meandering story, is coming to an end, the serial has turned into a mish-mash of all the characters, with some of them turning good for no specific reason. Trishna had re-emerged (although she had gone to jail earlier), and soon takes over control of the house all over again (one wonders as to how she got out of jail so easily).
So suddenly Trishna sends off Parvathi to a mental institution for mental shocks, gets Om into depression, and the rest of the household under her foot. And she has never paid for killing Krishna many many years ago. Apparently the people in the ever forgiving household forgave her for killing Krishna, and maybe also because she portrayed that she got Om and Parvati out of trouble by exposing Vijay as the real killer of the 2 young adults (Tannu and her boyfriend) killed in the serial.

Parvati in Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki

And then the drama starts into the end game. Suddenly you have an extra-ordinary team coming up to help Parvati, with Aditi, Sasha (who had always hated Parvati), Pallavi (who had also hated Parvati), Ashu (a most ineffective policeman), Ishaan / Chotu (who they could never decide whether he was good or bad, but in the end show him to have turned to good), Pragati (who suddenly becomes a hot shot lawyer). In a comical last few episodes, all of them have turned up and got Parvati free from the mental institution, and then took part in a major scam to upset Trishna, get her to confess her crimes, and remove her from the election that she was contesting. The drama over the past few weeks finally ended when Trishna confessed to everything in her own room (one wonders how much people can talk aloud on their own), and has been taken away by the police.

Videos of Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii on Youtube (this link)

Last episode:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Banoo Main Teri Dulhann

Dulhan, on Zee TV at weekdays 8 PM, is reaching a climax. After a long boring set of episodes, finally things are starting to peak. After reincarnation, and after quite a bit of drama, eventually Divya and Amar got married (even though Sindoora tried her best to prevent it).
And now it seems like history is going to repeat itself. For a time it seemed like Amar was totally in awe of Sindoora, respecting her, and fighting with Divya when she used to tell him to beware of Sindoora (Vidya was able to remember what happened in the previous birth when Sindoora killed both Amar and Vidya).
But it was all a drama; Amar was basically trying to make Sindoora pay for what she had done once he had learned what Sindoora had actually done. Helped by Bharat, Sindoora's son (who hated Sindoora for what she had actually done), they prepare a dangerous plan where Bharat would provoke Sindoora into trying to kill Divya and Amar in front of cameras. The plan backfires to some extent when Sindoora does not pick up the gun that Bharat has given (with fake bullets), but instead picks up the same gun that she had used 22 years back to kill Vidya and Sagar.
And now they reach the same plan, and Sindoora admits that she killed Vidya and Sagar, and says that she will them again and again, that nobody can help them. And after some more dialog and drama, she shoots Amar.

Video from the 30th September episode where Sindoora shoots Amar

More videos on Youtube (link)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Balika Vadhu (Child Bride) on Colors channel

The various Hindi serials currently on air (and in the past) have focused on a variety of social ills, including such ever popular (and high drama generating) areas such as jealousy, widow remarriage, adultery, affairs, children out of wedlock, dowry, etc. Somehow, even though dowry is a heinous social ill (and causes immense problems to a lady whose in-laws are demanding), we have been hearing and reading about it so much that the concept of dowry being shown in a Hindi serial is not shocking anymore.
What was shocking to me was this serial being shown on Colors at 11 PM weekdays, right after Big Boss Season 2. Why this was shocking was because child marriage is wrong on so many levels and is highly illegal (and yet unfortunately still prevalent in some areas of the country); it causes immense physical and mental distress to the affected girl, displays a custom where the parents of the girl feel that she is a burden and she needs to be handed over to somebody else as soon as possible, and the trauma of both the young girl and boy to be put in such a responsibility is pretty bad.
So this is the reason why this serial affected me so much. The serial takes a young girl called Anandi, who is married at a very tender age to a young boy from a much richer family (with her own family pretty sure that this is the only way that her life can progress). In her 'in-laws' place, her in-laws are shown to be very nice, except for the matriarch of the house, the grandmother who keeps on finding fault, and administering punishment.
The relationship between the young couple is also very tender, since neither of them is aware of what a marriage actually means. They fight (and it would look cute, except for the fact that they are married and do not know what that means) all the time including about Anandi coming to live in her 'husbands' room. Eventually, after another strong scolding (and much crying), this young girl runs away and heads back to her parents house (badly traumatized by her experience with the grandmother), and yet the couple emotionally blackmail her to go back and beg forgiveness for whatever she has done.
Hindi channels need to have sense of responsibility; showing a child marriage like this in a normal setting can reassure those people who are also planning on getting their children married and make this seem normal; the channel is just after TRP'. The only concession that is made is a small line at the end of every episode that tries to present a message against this wrong practise.

Videos of the serial from Youtube (link)

Little girl crying miserably, begging for forgiveness even when she has not done anything

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Saat Phere - Saloni fails to convert everybody

Saat Phere, Saloni ka Safar, the prime time 9:30 PM on Zee TV consists of Saloni being faced with new problems every few months, and she, with her love and goodness, trying to face these problems for the next several months. However, the entire episode with Kallika shows her failing. Kallika is her step-sister, elder to her, and as usual, Saloni fought with the others in her family to get Kallika accepted into the family. But she did not know that Kallika was actually out to get revenge for the way that Saloni's father, Narpat Singh, had actually treated Kallika's mother (he had apparently abandoned her when she was pregnant and this led to a lot of suffering for her mother and Kalika).
However, when Saloni gets to know this, she decides to treat Kallika like an elder sister, and in the face of a lot of opposition, brings Kalika back into the house, little knowing that she is only there for revenge. For the purpose of revenge, Kallika also has a fake marriage with Kshitij (the estranged son of the elder of the family, Kakasa). Kshitij also wants revenge for the treatment that he has suffered, and literally wants to ruin both Nahar and his elder brother.
So, coincident, both Kshitij and Kallika discover that they both want revenge, and get together, have a fake marriage, in order to come into the household and together take revenge - the question is about how Kallika can take revenge on Narpat Singh by being in Saloni's married house ? Well, she can take revenge on Narpat Singh by ruining Narpat Singh's daughter's household (this did not make too much sense). At the same time, Kshitij and Kallika also have a lot of tension because Kshitij wants his rights as a husband, and Kallika keeps on reminding him that this is a sham marriage, and he should not touch her. Kallika also kidnaps Saloni's newly born daughter, claiming that the daughter was dead; and she starts creating distances between Saloni and her elder sister-in-law (who is always ready to turn against Saloni for any reason apparently).
In the end, Kallika kills Kshitij, and gets Nahar blamed. Nahar is tried, sentenced to death, and in a major travesty of the legal system, is supposed to be hanged within a few days. Now typically, the process of appeals in the Indian legal system takes many years, and a death sentence is not automatic in murder cases, only applicable in rare cases. So you have Saloni and her family trying to rush and get a stay on the actual execution while Kakkasa also discovers that Kallika is deceiving everybody (and of course, he has handed over the entire property to her - people in hindi serials typically always make this mistake - handing over the entire property to the wrong people).
Finally, Nahar is saved after a lot of drama, and then Kalikka's mother comes out of her comatose state after seeing Narpat and blames Kalikka for behaving like this, bringing a whole family to ruin. So Kalikka now repents, telling Saloni that her daughter is alive, and that she will save Nahar.

Video of Saath Phere from 10 September (where Kalikka's mother recovers, Nahar is saved, and things become good again)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Khatron Ke Khiladi winner - Nethra Raghuraman

Khatron Ke Khiladi was the Indian equivalent of the Fear Factor programme, with a Bollywood super-star Akshay Kumar being the host, and 13 female models / stars being the participants. The show was exciting, with these being real stunts (although performed in controlled conditions with nets / protection gear, etc). It was fun to watch these stars jumping off buildings, putting their hands through worms, cockroaches, etc.

Participants were:
Nethra Raghuraman
Urvashi Sharma
Aditi Govitrikar
Pooja Bedi
Yana Gupta
Sonali Kulkarni
Anjana Sukhani
Meghna Naidu
Anita Hasnandani
Dipannita Sharma
Tapur Chatterjee
Tupur Chatterjee
Vidya Malvade
After many rounds, the turn of the final came and it was aired on the Colors channel on August 14th, 2008. The final 3 of Nethra Raghuraman, Urvashi Sharma and Aditi Govitrikar were vying to win the finals, and take home a purse of Rs. 50 lakhs. While Aditi was out of contentions when she did not do well in the the fire maze (unable to climb the hurdles). Left in contention were Netra and Urvashi, but in the last stunt (because of a misunderstanding), Urvashi was penalized for 30 seconsds, but Netra on the other hand finished there stunt in just 9 seconds, hence a clear winner.

Khatron Ke Khiladi Grand Finale 14th August Part 1 Video

Khatron Ke Khiladi Grand Finale 14th August Part 2

Khatron Ke Khiladi Grand Finale 14th August Part 3

Khatron Ke Khiladi Grand Finale 14th August Part 4

Khatron Ke Khiladi Grand Finale 14th August Part 5

Khatron Ke Khiladi Grand Finale 14th August Part 6

Khatron Ke Khiladi - Grand Finale - 14th August Part 7

Khatron Ke Khiladi Grand Finale 14th August Part 8

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Kasturi - Mausi is the bad one

It is real fun how things keep on happening in Indian TV serials (and how they keep on copying each other). So, from a time when Kasturi was in the bad books of Robbie because she had blamed him for Raunaq's death and vowed to take revenge (and as a part of the anger that Robbie felt, he had got engaged to Anita (who was actually plotting against Robbie and was in cahoots with Raunak)) (did you not see something similar to this happening in 'Kahin to Hoga'), to the point where she learns that Raunak was alive, and this was all a plan by Raunak to get hold of Robbie's wealth.
Well, soon things start to change away from Raunak's and Anita's favor; inspite of the best efforts of these 2 (and Mausi supporting them), Robbie soon starts to get the old feelings for Kasturi again. He breaks off his engagement with Anita, and moves closer to Kasturi (but Raunak has re-emerged on the screen in terms of trying to break the things between Robbie and Kasturi).
Raunak is torturing Kasturi a lot while pretending to be ill and bed-ridden to others, and Robbie can only watch when this is happening. Eventually, Raunak and Anita decide that they have to get rid of Kasturi, and they decide to try and kill her (Raunak has already made a number of people believe that she is mad). However, Robbie also reaches there, and it is believed that Robbie was guilty of shooting her. The police get involved, Kasturi's parents are also very angry and tell a lot of things to Robbie's parents.
And then they find Kasturi, she is in a ashram and has reverted back to a child like mental state (remember Saat Phere, anyone ?). Soon, Raunak decides that she has to go, but this time he is caught along with Anita. Mausi also abandons them, and Raunak is really angry at this, but is unable to do anything. Mausi is still planning, scheming, how to get Devika's and Robbie's wealth. And so the serial moves on, with newer villains (and maybe some element of black magic getting added).

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi - betrayal by the bahu

A battle royal between Tulsi and Tripti is ongoing, with Tulsi fighting a proxy battle with Vaidehi (her bahu, but one who also totally believes in Tripti and is fighting to destroy the Viranis even though she is married to Laksh and is now in love with him). One wonders as to how Tripti is wandering around free and out of jail, given that she had been sentenced by a court to a jail term, but she is wandering freely without any constraint; but she must have proved a popular villain, and hence they brought her back into the serial in a confrontational mode with the Viranis without worrying about a jail sentence.
So Vaidehi sets out on her task. It can be a good role for any actress, showing her to be a dutiful daughter-in-law while also seeking to destroy the family in which she lives. In this case however, by getting her to confront Tulsi at every opportunity, to laugh like a maniac many times, and to try to look evil a lot, somehow is ruining the whole effect. It looks out of place, and seems like over-acting. At the same time, they show her to be capable of any kind of wrong deed, including adding stuff in juice and putting oil on steps to make people fall.
The interesting part is, Tulsi knows about what Vaidehi is trying to do (she saw her with Tripti and heard her conversation), and has confronted her on a number of occasions, but has been unable to reform her. At the same time, she is unwilling to reveal her secret to the rest of the household since she is trying to reform her with love. And after KT cursed Vaidehi that her marriage would also turn bad after Vaidehi had caused the break-up of KT and Eklavya, it is pretty clear what the future will bring. Vaidehi will start to get swayed by the love she is receiving from the family and Laksh, and in the meantime, Laksh will find out her secret.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Khatron Ke Khiladi Akshay Kumar

When you launch a new channel in a field already having a number of new channels, you need to have some great programs to draw people. Typically, film stars are seen to get some excitement to the scene (you already have Shahrukh Khan on 'Paanchvi Pass Se Tez Hain' and Salman Khan on 'Dus Ka Dum'), and so getting a top film star to be the host of a new program is good. Now, when you have a channel launched by a major international media company such as Viacom, funding is less of an issue, and so getting a truly hot star such as Akshay Kumar worked. Combine this with the excitement of a reality show with actual stunts performed by amateurs, some good locations, and female TV / Other stars, and the channel could actually have a winner in terms of attracting viewer attention. Going by the buzz I hear in the office, people are watching this regularly.

Khatron Ke Khiladi on Color with Akshay Kumar

The program is based on the reality show 'Fear Factor', the first episode aired on July 21, 2008. The show is based in military style boot camp in South Africa, with settings based on water, buildings, etc (and there are many different challenges such as jumping off a building into a net hung in mid-air, cycling across a ramp high in the air, driving a cycle into glass and fire, climbing a helicopter from a speed boat, eating disgusting things, and so on). The ladies are teamed up with ex-military men, but most of the stunts have to be done by the ladies. If a lady hesitates or does not do the stunt, Akshay has been known to be critical. On the other hand, he does seem to encourage the ladies and even poke cheerful fun at them (or their make companions).
The various contestants are:
Nethra Raghuraman
Anjana Sukhani (Eliminated)
Aditi Govitrikar
Pooja Bedi
Sonali Kulkarni (Eliminated and then brought back)
Yana Gupta (Eliminated and then brought back)
Meghana Naidu (Eliminated, brought back, and then again eliminated)
Anita Hassnandani (Eliminated)
Dipannita Sharma (Eliminated, brought back, and then again eliminated)
Vidya Malvade (Eliminated early, but not brought back since she disappointed by not doing stunts)
Urvashi Sharma
Tupur Chatterjee (Eliminated, brought back, and then again eliminated)
Tapur Chatterjee (Eliminated, brought back, and then again eliminated)

Video of Stunt on Youtube (driving in an obstacle course)

Videos of the episodes:, Youtube

Kasam Seh - strange happenings

Most Hindi serials use 2-3 tactics to get rid of their top stars, or to spice up the show. So, the serial could either get characters to do a plastic surgery so that their face is completely changed (helpful when you want to get a new actor in), or they get a good person to suddenly become bad (helpful to give a twist to the story), or they make time fly past and bring in a change of 15-20 years (people change, but otherwise, the house, the cars, everything else looks exactly the same). All of these strategies have been employed in this popular serial from Zee.
Appearing weekdays at 9 PM, the serial tells the story of 3 sisters, Bani, Piya, and Rano; The story though primarily is that of Bani and her life. After the departure of Prachi from the lead role, the serial had to bring in a new face for the lead role of Bani. And so they bring in the plastic surgery for the new face, and give her the name of Pronita. She is out to take revenge against Meera (initially shown to be good, then turned into evil). Meera has ruined the lives of all of Bani's children, and Pronita has to also try and help them out.
So, Pronita gets married to Mr. Walia (why he divorces Meera was not clear), and then has to face a lot of resistance from the other family members including her own kids. And who supports her ? Her old enemy - Jigyasa (very surprising). Right now Meera has got Krishan arrested for drugs smuggling, and Pronita was unable to prevent it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Banoo Main Teri Dulhann - The past repeating itself

What happened in the previous incarnation of Divya and Amar ? As Vidya and Sagar, they were massively manipulated by Sindoora, who played one against the other and used all the weapons that she had. So, even though Divya knew by that time what Sindoora was upto, she was unable to do anything, and in the end, both Vidya and Sagar lost their lives to Sindoora (she shot both of them).
And then they came back in a rebirth, met again and even got married inspite of the best efforts of Sindoora to stop them. However, their remembrances of their previous life has been sketchy, and they remember things in part. However, if people expected the makers of the serial to bring some relief, then it is difficult. After all, if Sindoora goes, then maybe the whole drama of the serial goes, so the serial stretches on and on. Right now it seems that the serial is exactly doing what was happening earlier. Divya knows the truth, knows the evil nature of Sindoora. However, they have shown Amar to be now totally believing Sindoora, unwilling to listen to any ill spoken of her. He is even willing to believe that Divya may have got married earlier, and is ready to leave Divya because of this.
For many watchers of the serial, it seems like that the same stuff is getting repeated, and that the serial is now getting boring. It's the same shrewdness and evil shown by Sindoora, with Divya trying to fight it, but not fully able to.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Kahani Hamaray Mahabharat Ki on 9X

When it became known that Ekta Kapoor was going to be making her own version of the Mahabharat on 9X, there was a lot of fear that with her concept of entertainment, TRP's, and popularity being pegged to things such as the drama of saas-bahu serials, abrupt screen transitions, plastic surgery, and so on, this will be a Mahabharat that will remove the positive memories of the BR Chopra version. And now the serial is on air, having been launched on July 7, 2008, and appearing on 9X at 9 PM on weekdays.
The serial started out with depicting the episode of 'Draupadi Vastraharan', and this one did not go down too well. There was a lot of screaming by Anita Hassandani (playing the role of Draupadi), and one could actually see her using the full level of her voice while exhorting the Pandavas to take action to save her, while also screaming at the Kauravas. Over a period of time, the serial has started to reveal its cast, and the cast is essentially all the regulars of her serial (so far, no major new faces).

Kahani Hamaaray Mahabharat Ki on 9X

The costumes are very different from that of the original Mahabharat serial, more in the nature of costumes that would be there from the Indo-Greek fights shown in the 'Bharat Ek Khoj' serial. There is less of an emphasis on color (as in the original), and more of a focus on tight skin, functional costumes, a slightly darker hue, and tattoos. Acting is okay for the episodes that one is now seeing, although the initial reaction was one of shock.
Some of the traditional TV artists that one can see in the serial are / were Kiran Karmakar (Shantanu), Makrand Deshpande (Ved Vyasa), Rakshanda Khan (Amba), Chetan Hansraj (Bheem), Saakshi Talwar (Ganga), Ronit Roy (Bheeshma), and so on, all people from the various saas-bahu serials.

Link to Youtube videos on the serial (link)

The promise made by Bheeshm

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ek Se Badkar Ek on Zee TV - Another contest show

With all other channels having their mix shows dealing with getting the previous contestants from reality shows (music, dance, etc), Zee could not be far behind. Given that all the previous year finalists from Sa Re Ga Ma Pa would still be in a contract with Zee, it was pretty easy for Zee to launch a new show feature Raja Hassan, Anik Dhar, Harpreet Deol, Amit Paul, and so on. Combine them with a dancing person from the world of TV (and which TV actor does not want publicity today), and you have a reality show with teams comprising of one dancer, and one singer, and their performances are evaluated on that basis. Try and get a new host, the Bhogpuri film super-star Ravi Kishan (I find him most irritating, not a particularly good host).
Like most other shows, it is now mandatory to bring in celebrity judges, and so in addition to the usual judges of singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya and choreographer Ahmed Khan, the following celebrities have so far made their appearance on the show (Jackie Shroff, Salil Chadda, Vivek Oberoi, Priyanka Chopra, Harman Baweja, Manoj Bajpai, Ganesh Acharya, & Hansika Motwani). These celebrities also appear to promote their forthcoming movies, and as more movies get released, there will be more film stars who will show up in the form of celebrity judges. The show appears on Sat-Sun at 7:30 pm

Ek Se Badhkar Ek - Jalwe Sitaron Ke on Zee TV

The contestants, have been formed into the following teams:
* Sanchita Bhattyacharya & Kushal Punjabi
* Emon Chatterjee & Purbi Joshi
* Raja Hasan & Jasveer Kaur
* Harpreet Deol & Amrapali Gupta
* Aneek Dhar & Shayantani Ghosh
* Sumedha Karmahe & Abhishek Awasthi
* Amit Paul & Rajshree Thakur
* Poonam Yadav & Apurva Agnihotri

As always, the singing performances of Aneek and Raja Hasan have always impressed. And since no show nowadays can proceed without the usual burst of controversy, the channels always like to show dispute, objections, and even arguments. No longer do the judges object to this sort of drama anymore.

Video of Raja Hasan singing on Ek Se Badkar Ek (Youtube)

Other Youtube videos of the show (link)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

10 Ka Dum on Sony

There can be no easier way to make money. If you get 5 questions right, then you are going to make Rs. 10 crore, so how can you make money easier than that (unless you are a MP / MLA and every vote will count) ! The format of the show is pretty simple; you get on stage, shake hands with Salman Khan, do some polite chit-chat, he asks about your family, makes a few funny jokes, and you are on. So what do you need to do ?
You will be asked a question about something that they have gone and asked people in India about, and you need to give an answer that falls close to how the average person in the street has answered. So, for example, you could be asked:
"how many men would like to have a harem" and you have to give an answer. Suppose you say 30% - 60%, and the correct answer is 49%, then you win and move to the next round. As you move, the amount within which you have to guess the right answer keeps reducing (so it is 30%, but could come down to 5% or 10% near the end).

10 Ka Dum

The show is basically an attempt to get starpower onto the screen, to also compete with the Shahrukh Kya Aap Paanchvi Class Se Tez Hain on Star Plus. Here also, celebrities are brought in from time to time, such as cricketers Yuvraj and film stars Aamir and Imraan (seeking to promote their movie Jaane Tu .. Ya Jaane Na).

Videos from Sify site (link)
Another 10 ka Dum blog (link)
Videos from Youtube (link)

Yuvraaj and Harbhajan along with Salman in video:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ghar ke Laxmi Betiyaan on Zee - the return of Pavitraa

Today was a strange episode of this serial. So soon after Pavitraa was literally made an outcast, she is again brought back into the mainstream of the serial. Yuvraj had met this pretty girl called Niyati, and married her. She settled very fast into the family, and started getting along very well with the others (and this was inspite of Pavitraa trying to kidnap her to keep her away from the marriage). Soon after, Niyati declared that she was pregnant, and lo and behold, everybody started to anticipate the heir to the household. Pavitraa could not stand any of this and she started plotting how to get rid of Niyati. And she finally managed to get Niyati out of the house and into the open, and of course an accident was bound to happen.
The accident killed Niyati's child and also left her unable to conceive again; and this was a killer for the household - where would the heir come from ? And of course, Pavitraa has a baby growing in her from the time when she was with Yuvraj, and she is ready to become the heir generating mother for the household. Except for Menaka and Niyati (why does the daughter in law always out of guilt agree to such things ? There are so many other options available nowadays as IVF, surrogate mothership and so on), everybody else is against this. However, you know what will happen. Kavitraa comes back to the household, all ready to do her manipulation again.
In a side drama, Menaka is getting blackmailed by her own brother, who finally reveals that Yuvraj is not her son; Menaka in fact gave birth to a son. If this is the case and this gets revealed, this will be a massive shock to the entire household and change Menaka's position in the household.

Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii - the murder mystery

Balaji serials have the unique ability to spin a murder mystery into a long and complicated hunt with one common characteristic - at one point, all the characters have become suspected of the murder before they are one after the other proved innocent. And so it is starting to happen in Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki. Consider the scenario.
The wayward daughter of the house, Tanu, becomes more and more rebellious, and soon after the real life case of the Arushi murder case, the serial starts advertising her death in a similar manner. After much public criticism, the serial denied that it wanted to cash in on the Arushi murder case.
However, soon after, Tanu starts becoming even more confrontational, not caring about whom she is speaking to. She even starts learning secrets of the others in the family and threatening them with their secrets. Soon after that, she is found murdered, poisoned by a chemical. Her friend was suspected of the murder, but soon after that, her friend is also found murdered. And Om Agarwal is suspected of the murder on the basis of some evidence (the evidence seems to be incredibly light, and seemingly with no actual proof).
The complication in this is that Tanu's friend who was also found murdered, was the son of Aditya; which was a separate story. Aditya was a person from England who seemingly saved Parvati from being accused of adultery, and became very trusted. So trusted in fact, that he managed to easily deceive Om into transferring the entire business over to Aditya, leaving the Agarwals in so much penury that they could not even afford to spend the Rs. 4 lakh plus for an operation (although Rs. 4 lakh is a very high amount to spend for an operation).

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tripti is back in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi

After Tripti faced a court case and was shown to have become crazy, it would seem that she had exited from the serial. However, she is probably the one to have made the quickest re-entry. Hardly had the entire issue about Mandira and Juhi Thakral died down that the serial brought forward the old issue of KT, Ansh's son Eklavya and the return of Lakshya from his forced trip abroad (when KY got married to Eklavya).
Anyhow, Lakshya is back, and one was never sure about what KY wanted. She was not exactly very enthused about having Eklavya as her husband, and he is insanely jealous; but she is traditional and Eklavya is after all her husband; so she counsels Lakshya that there is no point cribbing about the past. Lakshya must move on, and he does in a very quick way.
Lakshya had gone for a wedding along with Joydeep (one no longer knows what the relationship of Joydeep with Bhumi is, they don't focus on that anymore), and there he encounters his friend getting fresh with the to-be-bride Vaidelhi and she does not appreciate even her would-be husband trying this with her before marriage. So she fights back, and Lakshya helps her. When faced with the issue about who will marry her now, Lakshya steps forward and marries her, and then returns to ShantiNiketan.
And then the twist, Tripti is actually the badi maa (respected elder parent type), and she instigates Vaidehi to file a case of attempt to burn. So, now Tulsi and Ganga are facing charges of trying to extort dowry. Nobody can believe this is happening. Lakhsya reacts most violently. Fortunately, Vaidehi realize that Tripti is trying to take revenge, and takes back her charges. So it ends well this time, but with Tripti back, one does not know for how long.

Teen Bahuraniyan - moving into the ghost zone

This typically has not been seen before. There are not that many prime time serials in the past that have brought in a ghost / spirit into a hindi serial that appears on real time, but Teen Bahuraniyan on Zee TV has done that now (maybe their TRP's were going down). Other serials in the past have used the concept of a ghost, but have later explained this as the tactic of someone to scare another person, or to get them to reveal the truth.
In Teen Bahuraniyan, the spirit is of Kaajal, and she appears to possess Bindiya (who has otherwise been shown to be a very sweet but also the least intelligent among the bahus of the house). So, Kaajal suddenly would take over Bindiya, with the objective of defeating her own sister, Payal, who has just entered the house as a new bahu. Of course, in the serial, the expectation is that everybody in the house will believe Bindiya when she makes all sort of allegations against Payal (maybe because she has been a member of the household for a long time).
The only time when you can be sure about Bindiya still surviving her independent spirit is when a mandir or some puja is involved, in which case Kaajal has to leave Bindiya, and then the Bindiya who comes back cannot understand what all is happening. And of course, other people in the house are not able to understand either.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Kasturi - the traditional amnesia tactic

When a serial lands in problems or the story needs to be elongated, there are some traditional measures that can be adopted such as amnesia, plastic surgery, etc. All of them are great for changing not only the person playing the character, but also help in adding a few weeks to the serial. And so it proved in Kasturi; just when the confrontation between Kasturi and Raunaq seemed to reaching a peak and Robbie would become totally aware of the truth of Raunaq, things changed. So what did happen ?
Well, Kasturi decided that she needed to strike back, so she pretended to behave madly. In the midst of this, Raunaq and Anita decided that they really do need to end the life of Kasturi, and they can drop her off a cliff after drugging her; she however is prepared and tries to turn the tables on them. However, in the end, she is the one who gets shot and falls off the cliff, and her mother blames Robbie for this happening.
And then, the final shocker (but you must have expected it); the elder mausi (Sudha Chandran), the do-gooder who had helped Kasturi till now was actually deeply envious of her sister and will do anything to break her sister and her wealth. She convinces them to keep Robbie under guard, and handles the accusations by Kasturi's mother and the police. And then wonders of wonders, they find Kasturi in a destitute women's home (just when they discover that they need Kasturi's signature to get the wealth transferred to Raunaq); however, because of the trauma and the injuries she suffered, she is now just like a child with amnesia. However, is this a ploy by Kasturi to get her revenge ?

Updated videos of Kasturi on Youtube (link)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Kumkum - Ek Pyaara Sa Bandhan

In the rebirth of the serial, Kumkum and Sumit land up in families far away from each other. Their life moves through at fast speed, and soon they reach their adulthood (after all, if they are shown as children for a long time, what happens to Hussain and Juhi Parmar - they would tend to get mighty impatient!). So, soon they reach at a point where the come into contact with each other; but totally opposite; their fathers are in conflict with each other.
And then suddenly you are witness to an extraordinary sight - Kumkum gets stuck in a spot while helping Mini, and had to cook up a story such that she is actually married and was with her husband (and this was asked by neighbors apparently, and then imagine that she could cool up a story that she was married without telling her strict father); you can imagine the rest - in a mistake, Sumit is acknowledged to be her husband, and she is not able to deny this. Her father is horrified at her selection of a husband, but is slowly coming around to accept this. Sumit is away from home after a misunderstanding with his father. He accepts this arrangement of being a false husband since Kumkum convinces him that she has the information that he is looking for.
Kumkum's chachi smells a rat and is very suspicious that Kumkum is lying, and tries various gambits to find out the truth. Imagine this, Kumkum is forced to spend several nights with Sumit in a closed room, and even though nothing happens during this time between them, just the fact that she spent the night with him means that she cannot retrieve her reputation now. Sumit is stuck in his own problem, trying to accept that his cousin Ratan is trying to kill him to get him out of the way. Ratan is under the influence of his mother Ramola. Kumkum in the meantime leaves her home and goes to Sumit's home where Ratan sees in her an opportunity to control Sumit.

Raja Ki Aayegi Baarat - the strange story

Raja Ki Baarat is a serial that appears on Star Plus at 8 PM weekdays (Mon to Thur). It is a show about a girl called Rani, only 17 years old. She is the support of her family after the passing away of her father, and works in the big mansion (who lives in this kind of lifestyle anymore). She is very good at what she does (and she essentially works as a servant in the house), in addition she is very dedicated and honest (although the senior Bhanumathi can't stand her). The other main character of the serial is the prince, Yudhistir, who is very aware of his status. He is not arrogant, but very much aware of his tradition and duties, and will act in the manner prescribed by tradition.
In this family, the Raja Surya Singh Rathore is the strongman of the family, the absolute patriarch; his word is law in the family and he believes in his elder son. In addition, there are the 2 sisters to whom he is married - the Badi Rani and the Choti Rani. The Badi Rani is bed ridden, and does not speak. The entire family cares for her; however, it turns out that the Choti Rani (her younger sister) wants to get rid of the Badi Rani and get the focus onto her son Ranbir rather than the elder son (Yudhistir), who is after all the son of the elder Rani.
Towards this end, she is trying to poison the Badi Rani (her own sister) and Rani is getting caught up in this game, since part of her duties is to attend to the Badi Rani and give her the medicine. Now the Badi Rani is poisoned, her life is saved but she is in a coma, and the blame starts getting put on Rani. How does she get out of this and prove her innocence ?

Here are a whole set of Videos from the serial (link)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Update on Kayamath - so finally she can stop crying

It seemed like in every episode of Kayamath, Prachi does nothing but cry. So it was somewhat relieving to see that there was finally an episode in which she is happy. And why is she happy ? Because the inevitable finally happened. The long long (too long in my opinion) scene of Milind having lost his memory, and then ditching Prachi for Ayesha (with Ayesha doing a lot of manipulation, portraying herself as the perfect manipulative and ruthless person, and combined with getting half of the dialogues where she only speaks to herself) finally turns around.
Milind, even though he seems to have not regained his memory, cannot stay away from Prachi to the utter disgust of Ayesha who tries everything possible to threaten Prachi, and to plot against her (including manipulating a relationship between Sukriti and Alaap, only thwarted when Milind sees Prachi telling Alaap to stay away from Sukriti). In all this, nobody ever suspects that Ayesha is the one behind all this.
In the end, Milind refuses to marry Ayesha, getting up from the actual marriage place (just the night before, he had told Prachi that he loved her, but he was duty bound to marry Ayesha). Ayesha is devastated by this and cannot believe that Milind is rejecting her for Prachi. Further, right then a fire happens, and in the midst of this fire, Milind miraculously regains his memory (you just need to tap them on the head and they either lose their memory or regain it). And then of course, he recognizes that Prachi is the one that was with him, and they get ready to marry. And in the midst of all, they want Ayesha to attend (after rejecting her and humiliating her, they want her to attend !).

Videos of Kayamath on Youtube (link)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ghar Ki Laxmi Betiyaan - The end of Bhavishya ?

Many months ago, Saraswati was shown as having got married to Bhavishya, the worst time of her life. He caused immense torture to her, and then tried to burn her. She finally got out this problem, and Bhavishya was diagnosed as being mentally ill and sent to a mental hospital.
And then the rule of the doubles came in; Durga met a young man who looked exactly like Bhavishya. The family was very suspicious of this new person, but slowly everybody (and hesitantly Sawaswati) got over the whole worry and accepted him. He married Durga, and things seemed to be fine. He was actually genuine, and then Bhavishya, having got out of the hospital in some way, kidnapped this guy and took his place. And then he started plotting again.
He started drugging Durga, and had more plans to cause problems to the rest of the family. He also caused immense tensions between Durga and Saraswati, and eventually for Saraswati to be declared as mad and sent off to a hospital. But now his game seemed to be up; both Karan and Lakshmi realized his truth and plotted as to how to expose him. And eventually, the sisters and Savitri cornered him, and burned him to death (not good, you should never show using murder for any kind of revenge; it is illegal and gives essentially wrong advice to people).

Video of scenes from the final confrontation:

Friday, June 6, 2008

Latest update on Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi

Seems like the saga of the Smriti Irani based character, Tulsi is now in full flow. At some point in the past, there was a fall-out between Ekta Kapoor and Smriti (primarily based on the fact that Smriti started her own production house and was spending a lot of time on this effort). So, in an accident, Smriti got removed from the serial and in her place, Gautami was brought in (with plastic surgery to explain the face change from Smriti to Gautami). Gautami soon managed to get enough proof to convince everyone that she was the real Smriti, and also acted in ways that resembled the old Tulsi (I always get confused about this, given that she is going to be stepping into a marriage with a live husband - what happens when there is the expectation of intimacy between the 2?).
So anyhow, soon Smriti came back into the serial (with a lot of fanfare), and poor Gautami was suddenly shown as a conspiring fake person, in cahoots with Mandira in order to defraud the family of the entire property and then run away with all the money. And Mihit became the good person again, having gone to Mandira's side only for the purpose of trying to find the reality of Tulsi's reality; he soon discovers that his suspicions are correct, that she is indeed fake, being in reality Juhi Thakral.
Over a period of weeks, they show Smriti (having lost her memory) getting closer to ShantiNiketan without any of her children ever seeing her.
And now, Mihir wants to prevent the family from donating the property to Juhi, while the family does not believe either Mihir (or Shobha to whom Mihir has revealed the truth); they believe that Mihir is not worth believing anymore (imagine, they don't believe their own father). Juhi is happy since she believes that she will get the entire property, but fate has something else to say. When Juhi sees Mihir and Tulsi together, she panicks and tries to run them over with her car. They both survive, and finally reach ShantiNiketan to stop this property transaction from going through.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The drama of IPL T20 cricket

When the concept of IPL was announced, there was cynicism about whether this was a concept that would gain public attention (even after the success of the T20 cricket world cup); after all so many matches in so short a time would maybe cause exhaustion, and people would loose attention after some matches.
However, there is enough to show that IPL has been a success to a fair amount of degree. The stadiums have been full, TV sponsorships of the events (including commercials) has been expensive, and in the biggest acknowledgment of the success in weaning after the young and middle aged crowd, there have been so few movie releases during the time of the tournament, that it seems quite clear that most movie makers don't want to risk a sharply reduced period of ticket collection.
The coverage of IPL T20 cricket on SET Max has been a mixed one, with a lot of use of technology. So, there are a lot of statistics called real time, including the wagon wheel, a steady show of the current run rate and asking rate, plenty of replays and so. One cannot say the same about the people called onto the sets, with many of my friends and colleagues making fun of the quality of people being called upon to give expert comments. On the whole, these are matches to be watched without caring too much about the commentary.
Now, with just one semi-final and the final left, there is a big expectation that the viewership will peak, and it is the good fortune of most of the regular evening and nightime weekday serials that these 2 final games are happening on the weekend. One other feeling I have about watching this one vs. the normal one day matches is that the TV coverage has been slightly more nuanced: So, in the normal one-day coverage, many times you are not able to see the replays of the big shots and wickets since the Ads come on immediately, while here, the ads are somewhat more controlled. I seem to feel that I have watched more TV replays now that in the regular coverage of one-day cricket.

2 websites for catching the T20 cricket:
The official website
Lots of statistics

Video highlights of the first semi-final between Jaipur and Delhi (Jaipur won)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Saloni Ka Safar: Saath Phere - The fall of the father

Creating a drama out of thin area is something that most serials excel in, and this also has the advantage that the serial can continue for several weeks or months on the new drama created. For the purpose of this drama, the serial can take any turn, and make anybody a villain, even the lead character of the serial (take for example, how Gautami, playing Tulsi on Kyunki .. suddenly turned into a negative character when the real Tulsi, Smriti Irani was to be brought back to the serial). In the case of Saloni Ka Safar, there are a few characters who are always shown as positive, such as Saloni, her father Narpat, mother, Bhabo, and so on. However, some time back, Saloni was shown as negative for many months, and now it was the turn of her father, Narpat to suddenly turn negative.
So in a sudden twist of events, Saloni's father Narpat Singh is now shown to have an affair, a major problem, since this causes his family to get estranged from him. All this happened when Saloni and her sister Shubhra are trying to get Shubhra's estranged parents back together again. Both Shubhra's husband Kunjan and his mother Padma Thakurain hate the father because they believe that he had an affair and the child that he is bringing up is actually his. However, in a function to celebrate the marriage anniversary of Saloni's parents, it gets revealed that in fact this girl was not his daughter, but the illegitimate daughter of Narpat and Shyama (whom he used to love before his marriage, but whom he deserted). Shyama later turned mad.
And then things change. Narpat is now hated by all, by his wife who can't believe this betrayal (although a relationship before marriage should not be considered a betrayal), and equally by his illegitimate daughter Kalika, who considers Narpat responsible for all her problems. It's Saloni who tries to reconcile these relationships, first trying to get Narpat (who has left home) and Kalika together, and she finally succeeds, when Narpat saves Kalika's life. And then she brings Kalika home, something that neither her mother nor Samrat likes. However, they have to keep her there, since it has been threatened that Shubhra's life in her in-laws place will take a turn for the worse if Kalika is mistreated. But will Kalika be able to reconcile with Narpat's wife (who hates her) ? What do you think ?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Jo Jeeta Wohi Superstar on Star Plus

Jo Jita Wohi Superstar is a show that seeks to bring together contestants from many different singing contests on different channels over a period of time. It is similar in format to the other show, Ustaadon Ke Ustaad (on Sony). The concept is that you get together the winners and the contestants who came close to winning, and then bring them into 2 separate teams composed of the winners and challengers. But it is not so simple, with contestants from both the champions and challengers getting eliminated by voting; you also have the change of a challenger going towards the champion team.
The show has mined all the major music shows of the past, including Indian Idol, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, Supersinger, Fame Gurukul (from different channels). The show comes at a time of 10 PM on Friday and Saturday on Star Plus; for the contestants, even if they eliminated quickly, they still get a lot of publicity and when people are trying to generate their name through shows and other appearances, such publicity can do wonders.
I watched an episode of the show that was shown on the occasion of Mother's Day, and all the participants sang songs that were meant to bring out tears, and they did so for the majority of people on the stage (I am a bit cynical, so was wondering whether there would be a contestant or a host who could dare not to show a tear and be considered unemotional ?). It became clear that the show wanted this to be a teary event when they literally encouraged the mother of Abhijeet to go on stage when he was singing, and she seemed very uncomfortable standing there.

Prajakta Shukre, Rahul Vaidya, Vinit Singh, Harshit, Toshi, Aishwarya, Debojeet, Rooprekha, Ujjaini, Ishmeet, Abhijeet, Amit Tandon, Amit Sana, Sumitra Iyer, Ravindra Ravi, Neha Kakkar, Himani, Priyani Vani, Harshit Saxena, Rex D'Souza, Amey Date
Host: Mandira Bedi
Judges: Vishal-Shekhar and Farah Khan

The judges have sometimes been a bit harsh, but they have given some good scores to people, and some of the performances have been great. Some of the latest participants from other shows would not have been able to attend since they would have been under contract to the channels and no competing channel would want to encourage Star Plus in this kind of show.

Videos on Youtube of the 10th may episode:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Kayamath - too much of crying

This show is getting more and more difficult to watch. Previously, it was that Prachi had finally managed to convince Milind that she was a good wife who was faithful to him, and that had taken a number of episodes to happen. Then Milind lost his memory and got convinced that Ayesha was his beloved; Ayesha took full advantage of that to make sure that she sticks to Milind and keeps on reminding Prachi that her time was over and that she should now forget about Milind. So, Prachi, being a good person and mindful of Milind's condition, did not try to impress on him about their previous life; what she did most is cry all the time. In every episode, her face always had that look which would feel that she is always crying.
But then, things started to change. Although there was an attempt by Neev to try and reclaim his lost love, it was clear that Prachi was now totally in with Milind and was always hopeful that things will improve, Milind will regain his memory and then they will be together again (and it is very much possible that such a thing would happen, only that it could take 20 more stretched episodes to happen).
In the recent episodes however, it seems that Prachi would make an effort to make Milind remember his past live (and even the doctor now says that if he keeps in contact with things that he remembers, he could regain his memory); and even though Ayesha does not like this a single bit, Prachi has now developed some confidence and takes steps that would help Milind remember (and the serial does show him remember a clouded version of past events, just that he cannot make out who the person is in his memory).

Kya Aap Panchvi Pass se Tez Hain - Not doing great

One was reading an article in the newspapers about how this much awaited show is running into problems with its sponsors; apparently the show is not drawing enough viewership and the sponsors are applying pressure to reform the format of the show. The show, even though based on an international show, 'Are (confirm)', has been modified to the Indian context, with a lot more celebrity power thrown in. Hence, even 2 ads of the show that I saw talking about some future episodes of the show had 2 more TV celebrities shown - as an example, one of the episodes had the 2 main leads of the drama 'Vidaai' appearing on the show along with most of the cast.
This is apparently something that the sponsors seem to be fulminating against; they believe that the show is focusing a bit extra on the star quotient (and these were minor TV stars, not big Bollywood stars who can be expected to lend more glamour to the show). This is also in contrast to the previous Kaun Banega Crorepati since the focus of the show remained the questions and not more about the celebrities. With a limited time format, and some focus on the star power, the show is losing out and just not generating the required viewership (although when the show was proposed, there was worry that the show will generate so much interest that the IPL matches going on at the same time - evening at 8 PM) would lose out on some of the viewership.
The worry for Star is that 30% of the episodes already have apparently been shot, and it would get difficult to rework the basic format of the show; and since a major Bollywood figure such as Shahrukh Khan is involved, re-shooting episodes would be very difficult.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Banoo Main Teri Dulhann update

A short update, Sindoora is upto her usual tactics, she wanted to get Amar out of the house and she achieved that. However, this is not enough; ever since she saw Amar, she recognized Sagar's face and the prophecy about his coming back, and is ready to kill Amar. One attempt failed, and she actually shot her man who failed to do what she wanted to do, but the second attempt seems to be successful.
The unsuspecting Amar is buried alive, and in his struggle, Divya feels Amar to be in trouble and prays that he be alright and get out of any trouble that he may be in. When Amar is struggling, a passing taxi-driver hears some of the commotion, and when he comes closer, he hears the noise of somebody struggling. Any normal guy would get spooked, with the noise seeming to come from under the ground, but he instantly (a bit surprising) recognizes that somebody is buried alive and helps Amar to come out of the coffin in which he has been buried. Amar has almost collapsed by that time, and is rescued in the nick of time. The taxi-driver recognizes Amar.

Changes in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu thi

The changes you can make in a serial when you have a captive audience are incredible. So for example, when Ekta Kapoor saw that the show was not doing so good when Smriti Irani had left, and Smriti was not doing so well in her production house as well, then it was announced that Smriti would come back to the show. In fact, there were ads taken out for this, Smriti appeared on several announcements to this regard, and this became a hot news on the media coverage of television. The more important thing was since Smriti would come back as Tulsi again, what would happen to Gautami who was playing the role of Tulsi ?
Well, this was easily done. In one climatic moment, they showed Tulsi in league with Mandira, so getting Mihir kicked out of the house and getting attracted towards Mandira was all part of a plan. In this plan, Mihir would get kicked out of the house, and then Tulsi would convince Karan to name the entire property after her. Things are progressing on this front, and then Smriti starts to appear on the serial. And how is her appearance explained ?
Well, when will amnesia be useful ? So Smriti, is still the real Tulsi, only she has lost her memory and is now staying in an ashram, and in her forgotten memory state, is in contact with both Mandira and the false Tulsi. Also, by this time, Mihir is in the bad books of everybody at home, with Karan being hostile towards him now. Now, the serial needs to bring about a Mihir Tulsi reunion soon, so Mihir is shown as suspecting that Tulsi is not his Tulsi, and soon he starts believing that she is actually Juhi pretending to be Tulsi. He makes his way back to ShantiNiketan through an accident, and gets to live in the house even though people do not actually talk to him much; even his daughter (Shobha), shown in the serial after a pretty long time, does not talk to him.
So now 2 things need to happen, and Mihir is important to both of these events - the real Tulsi needs to be recognized and get re-united with Mihir, and Juhi and Mandira need to be exposed. Mihir is already starting to move away from Mandira.

Say Shava Shava on NDTV Imagine

This is a reality singing show, and they feature some upcoming TV stars to sing. One word of caution, given that these are TV actors, and not all of them act all that way, some of their singing can leave you with a real need to switch channels. For example, Divyanka (Vidya / Divya from the Banoo Main Teri Dulhann Serial on Zee) needs badly to improve her singing. But she looks pretty nice, so a lot of people will excuse her lack of singing capabilities :-).
The show appears on Friday and Saturday from 9:30 - 10:30 PM (confirm this). The host for the show is the TV actor Ali Asgar (the devoted brother Kamal from the Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki). He also does a lot of comedy, and in this serial, every week he does a comedy act of imitating the various older stars; I have seen him doing a comedy imitation of Manoj Kumar, Shatrughan Sinha, etc
Divyanka, Moni (KT from Kyunki ..), Manish Goel, Approva Agnihotri, Juhi Parmar, Aman Verma, Sumit, Nayarani, etc are some of the actors who have tried to sing on the show. The show has also tried to get some of the sophisticated glamour in term of the judges (Simi Garewal and Karan Johar); in addition, the show also allows an evicted opponent to give a trump card in the next show, and Aman did the show after he was outed, giving a trump vote that led to a lot of controversy in the show. In the same show, when Manish Goel was evicted, there was a lot of drama - he broke down and cried that he was being made a lot of fun of and he felt humiliated (and his wife who was also there also jumped in and said that she preferred that he left since he was feeling very bad about attending the show).
This is when the host, fellow contenders and judges all got into the act of consoling, but the judges were a bit cold as well, telling him that if he wants to be a public figure, then he has to be able to take all these in his stride. And that was the conclusion of the drama. On the other hand, some of the singing has been pretty good, with Moni getting pretty appreciated for her singing; the same with Sumit. For some of them, you can feel that they have done a lot of effort. There is also more drama, since Divyanka got her co-star Sharad (from Dulhann ..) on the show to depict romance, and she got a lot of leg-pulling from the judges.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Kasturi: Twists and turns

One wonders about the twists and turns that various serials take. Kasturi has gone through so many turns and twists that anybody who had seen the serial even 1 month ago would have got confused. So, just some time back Robbie was totally against Kasturi because of the way she had treated him during his illness and had almost turned her out of the house. It was only the arrival of Mausi that changed things in the house and she took total control of the situation.
And then suddenly in the space of 1-2 episodes, everything changed. Robbie realized that he still loved Kasturi and proclaimed that he was not going to get engaged again, instead his heart still beats for Kasturi (and thank god too, since till then, the number of tears that Kasturi was forced to shed would have drowned the whole house).
But just when things were getting better, an urgent signal was sent out to Raunaq to return, and he did return, proclaiming injury and a memory loss as a result of which Kasturi and Robbie could not get together again, she had to be deputed to take care of Robbie (who is faking the injury, and Kasturi knows it); so she is trying to get everybody to know his real self and expose his fake nature. One expects that in the next few weeks, something major will happen.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Banoo Main Teri Dulhan

The serial is slowly moving in circles, with an elongated version of a love story between Divya and Amar. After their previous time in Benaras, when Divya left abruptly to honor her promise to Bindiya, they are slowly realizing that they are in love with each other. However, Divya thinks that she cannot marry Amar and hence agrees to marry Samrat, who in the meantime has made another girl pregnant (strange stories being spun around each character).
Amar has come to search for Divya, while Sindoora is on the lookout for figuring out what is going to happen; ever since she saw Divya and saw the same face as Vidya (whom she had killed), she was waiting for the emergence of Sagar in the form of a new person and then she saw Amar.
Now Amar is in the same house as Divya and Sindoora, and Sindoora has co-opted Chandra to help her in framing Amar in something as simple as a theft and getting rid of him. As soon she sees Amar, she remembers both the words of the priest that she will be defeated by these very people, and also remember the words of the dying Sagar that he will come back some day.
Right now, in order to elongate the serial, both Divya and Amar have been shown as missing each other a lot, and even though they are both in the same house (Amar in the form of a waiter), they miss each other by the barest amount; once they were actually back to back. Amar also remembers things in the house, while he should have no knowledge of the place since in this life, he has not been in this house.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The IPL circus on SET Max

Well the IPL T20 circus has started. After the first show on April 18th on SET Max, people started getting an idea of what the show will entail. You had the match between the Kolkata team and the Deccan team, or you could call it a contest between Shahrukh's team and Vijay Mallaya's team. The show was everything you thought it would be - lots of glitz, glamour - Shahrukh Khan has been getting the film star community to show up for cheering, and he himself was dancing and screaming the whole time. There were massive ceremonies such as fireworks displays, full stands, imported cheer leaders and the likes
The show otherwise has been a slug-fest, as expected. The bowlers are now used to being ravaged and hit for so many sixes and fours that would have caused them to hit the batsmen during normal test or one-day matches. Hitting 15 runs in an over was not a surprise.
So things have moved okay so far, except for the matches on the 20th of April. First, during the second innings of the first match, the lights went out and the match was delayed for quite some time till they figured out the possible outcomes (Duckworth Lewis was no solution since the match was exactly where Duckworth Lewis said that it should be) and then the game resumed; and then during the second match, the start of the game was delayed since there was a lot of debris from the spectacular fireworks display and they had to wait for the debris to be cleared.
There are many many matches yet to happen, so let's see whether the fever catches on; so far from office conversation, a good benchmark, things are not exactly very hot.

Videos of matches of the IPL T20 from Youtube (click link)

Highlights of the 1st match between Kolkata and Bangalore:

Nachle Ve with Saroj Khan

Nach Le Ve with Saroj Khan is a dance show with a difference. It has dared to be different, with the show not geared towards a dance contest like most other shows, instead it to geared towards teaching the art of dancing. Saroj Khan, who has directed so many great dances in movies, and has won numerous awards for dances, takes the role of a teacher and teaches the dance steps to many famous dances from movies (Saroj Khan is famous for teaching Madhuri her steps for many of the famous dances in movies and she focuses on these dances).
It takes great patience to teach people dancing, since it could take many weeks of training to teach dancing, and to try to fit into a TV format makes it boring to the normal viewer (however I can visualize many people wanting to watch the show to learn these dance steps from a famous choreographer), so it may be more of a focused show.
Saroj Khan is encouraging and sarcastic by turns, but one does not see her showing many star rudeness during the show. The show started on January 21, 2008 and airs from Monday to Friday at 7 PM on NDTV Imagine.
The show takes normal dancers (Meenakshi Desai, Swati, Bhakti). In addition, there are many others who have joined from time to time such as Divyanka and Sharad (from Banoo Main Teri Dulhan), Shweta Salve, Gaurav Chopra.
The official home page of the show.
Here is the link to Dance Mela, a chance to feature on the show.

Videos from Nach Le Ve on Youtube (link)

A sample video from the show:

Enjoy Nautanki TV